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Vancouver Island - Day 23

10am Monday morning... Wow it felt bloody good to have a sleep in! After paddling more than 70 kilometres yesterday over , it felt much deserved and obviously needed. We decided last night that waking at 3am again was not going to happen, it would have meant 5 hours sleep after 17 hours on the water. We were so tired and our bodies were exhausted! After a quick weather check with my trusty weather man (my dad via sat phone) with our bellies full of Radix (I had mixed berry breakfast Ngaio had wild Alaskan salmon) we packed up and headed off. The weather on the west coast is very tricky, it’s not often that the wind and swell do what the forecast says. Today we were paddling around Estevan point, an exposed peninsula, it was so important we had the right wind speed and direction so we knew when we needed to be off the water to stay safe. The forecast was for 5-10 knots north westerly winds, great! The wind wasn’t going to be too strong and it would be behind us, making paddling much easier. Our reality was 5-10 knots south easterly wind, all day, making paddling difficult and there was a big swell which meant we had to paddle far off the coast.

About half way into our day we spotted some big spouts being blown from the ocean, more whales! They were far ahead of us, we could see two on our left and one on the distance directly ahead of us. We kept paddling, watching as they came up to breath. They seem to come up 3 or 4 times then do a big dive showing their magical tails and head down for a while. We were mid conversation about whether whales check the surface before they come up when a huge whale surfaced right next to our boats. It was such an amazing experience being so close to such a huge wonderful creature, listening to it breath and watching it cruise back into the ocean. We had this happen twice, it was definitely a highlight of the trip so far.

As the day grew on the swell got bigger but the wind was dropping, we would be hard pressed to find somewhere to land that didn’t have huge waves. We planned to land at Barcester bay, thankfully the swell here was much more manageable than the last 7km of coast. As we came in to shore I was busy checking behind us to figure out the timing of the waves. We waited for a wave to pass then paddled hard to come in on the back of it. Ngaio was slightly behind me and she missed the back of the wave. There was a wave about to break over the back of her, she back paddled but the wave broke and picked up her boat. The waves were small enough and falling out would be harmless but we don’t have a hot shower to warm up at the end of the day!

As usual, when the wave picked up the kayak it turned sideways, Ngaio leaned into the wave and braced her paddle on the top of it, at the same time I had grabbed her boat to stop her from leaning the wrong way. This ended up with me getting a swift paddle to the face as Ngaio had turned to brace on the wave. Ouch! We made it safe and dry to a wonderful white sandy beach with two fellow campers on it. The sunset was beautiful and there was a little waterfall perfect for a nice fresh water wash before bed.

GPS Tracker Tips - If you are following Brando & Ngaio on their TRACKME GPS tracker, here's a tip; Once you follow the link, click on the 'Brando & Ngaio' location icon and select 'path'

(If the Brando and Ngaio Icon does not show up on the map click the menu then participant list then 'show all')

(first image and blog via satellite phone)

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